"Thanks for the Memories"
Written by Shonda Rhimes; directed by Michael Dinner

As Izzie gets ready to make Thanksgiving dinner, Meredith voices over that giving thanks is all about being happy, whether we like it or not. Meredith tries to sneak out of the house, but Izzie catches her and reminds her that everyone is supposed to help her make dinner. Meredith is saved by the (door)bell, and the two meet George’s father Harold (George Dzundza) and brothers Ronny (Tim Griffin) and Jerry (Greg Pitts). The three call George “Georgie” and run through the house yelling, “O’Malley!” Meredith uses the distraction as an excuse to escape, though Izzie calls after for her to be back by 6 p.m. George is ready for his family’s wild entrance. Addison and Derek take a ferry to work, even though they’re both supposed to have the day off. Addison announces that she’d like to have sex tonight, ripping out the stitches without anesthesia. Derek remembers when they were in med school and never had to schedule sex. Addison wants to be normal again and asks him to meet her at noon. Bailey finds Meredith alone in the locker room and tells her that today she’ll be working with a temp attending named Dr. Kent. Meredith admits that she doesn’t mind working on Thanksgiving because she doesn’t have much to be thankful for. Bailey does - she loves that there are tons of cooking-related disasters that bring people to the hospital.

Derek finds Webber studying the OR board and each reminds the other that he’s not supposed to be there. Burke is also there but on his way out after a quick operation. Derek tells him to admit that he “can’t function ten feet away from the hospital.” Burke points out that he and Webber are there as well. Webber tries to convince the others that he can have a life away from the hospital. Bailey and Meredith meet Kent, who’s not up for brownnosing and just wants people to boss around. The only resident he wants to deal with is the Nazi, who he thinks is a man and doesn’t suspect is actually Bailey. George starts to leave with his family, explaining to Izzie that every year they go hunting for a turkey. Jerry promises to return George to the house as soon as he’s killed a bird. Izzie asks who’s going to help her with dinner, but George is more concerned with who’s going to help him. Meredith and Bailey’s patient is a man named Holden who has been brought in from a nursing home; he’s been in a persistent vegetative state for 16 years, after he was hit by falling debris while fighting a fire. Now he has a hematoma because he fell out of bed while he was being turned by orderlies. Bailey leaves Meredith to tend to him, stating that she’s off to find the Nazi. Meredith tells the silent Holden that she wishes she could have his kind of peace and quiet. She’s stunned when he suddenly opens his eyes and looks right at her.

Meredith goes looking for Bailey, who’s treating a guy who burned himself trying to drunkenly deep-fry a turkey. Meredith tells her that Holden opened his eyes and looked at her, but no one believes her. Kent arrives and Bailey tries to block his view from her patient, then tells him Meredith can’t do sutures right now because she’s taking Holden to CT on the Nazi’s orders. Burke and Cristina arrive at Meredith’s house and Cristina warns Burke not to talk about Derek, Addison, or anything having to do with syphilis. “Just be nice or something,” she advises. Izzie blasts Cristina for being late, then calms down when she realizes her boss is there. She pulls Cristina aside and Cristina explains that she tried to blow Burke off but “he wouldn’t blow.” Izzie wonders what she’s supposed to talk about with Burke there. Burke overhears and announces that she can call him Preston, though Cristina notes that no one calls him that. Cristina is shocked to hear that Meredith and George aren’t home, so it’s just her, Izzie, and Burke. Plus, Izzie has invited Alex, who hasn’t shown up yet. Derek and Webber are about to head home when Meredith finds them and they realize they don’t want to leave. Meredith asks Derek for a neuro consult for Holden, though he doesn’t believe that Holden opened his eyes and looked at her. After some arguing over the possibilities, Derek finally decides to check him out.

George and his family’s hunting expedition is punctuated by a discussion about cars and George’s insistence that they can just buy a turkey. Harold is sure that this year will be George’s year to shoot the turkey, even though he’s never done it before. As Izzie leaves Alex a message asking where he is, Burke notes that Izzie has never made Thanksgiving dinner before. Izzie defends herself by saying that she’s a baker but has watched her grandmother cook a lot. Cristina announces that she’s leaving if there’s no food, Burke gets ready for turkey surgery. Izzie is thrilled but Cristina wants a drink. Derek examines Holden, who doesn’t give any reaction until Meredith starts speaking. They look at his CT scan and see that his brain hasn’t atrophied at all in 16 years because he hasn’t been in a persistent vegetative state after all - he’s been minimally conscious and no one noticed. Derek is optimistic that they might be able to wake him up now. Alex studies in Intern Alley and checks his messages from Izzie but doesn’t call her back. George calls Cristina, who’s searching the house for booze, and each complains that he or she is in the worse situation. He begs her to come get him, but she won’t. As Addison tries to get in touch with her husband, Derek and Meredith meet Holden’s ex-wife Cheryl and son Coby and tell them that they’ve given Holden medication that should wake him up in a few hours. They’ve both moved on, and Cheryl doesn’t want to be there when Holden wakes up.

Derek tells Meredith that they did the right thing medically, even if Cheryl is upset. Meredith hates the idea of Holden waking up to find that everything has changed and his family hasn’t waited for him. Kent finds Bailey scrubbing in for surgery and she tells him that the Nazi wants her there rather than doing sutures. Webber is there to watch, and Bailey warns him not to stay too long since the patient’s wife stabbed him. Joe and his boyfriend Walter (Jack Yang) arrive at Meredith’s house, and Cristina is happy to see them until she realizes they didn’t bring any alcohol. As the O’Malleys wait for a turkey to appear, George refuses to take part in the car conversation, which Harold says is because he’s tired from working 48-hour shifts. Ronny and Jerry can’t believe George likes his job, so Harold encourages George to brag a little and tell them what it’s like. They’re not impressed because he doesn’t get to operate by himself yet. Alex finds Meredith in Holden’s room and they ask each other why they’re at the hospital and not the house. Alex promises to come clean if Meredith spills something first, so she admits that she’s afraid she’ll make people sad. Alex confesses that he failed his boards, but he doesn’t want to tell Izzie because she’ll be so nice about it. After he leaves, Holden wakes up. Derek examines him and tells him that he’s in good condition after having been asleep for so long. He asks Meredith to tell him how long he’s been asleep (“no anesthesia,” Derek notes).

At the house, Burke and Izzie continue their turkey surgery as Joe and Walter make bets as to whether they’ll be successful. Cristina doesn’t care, but she’s not too thrilled about how well Izzie and Burke are getting along. She starts to leave, telling Burke that she doesn’t like that he’s making friends with her friends. He points out that she told him to be nice. She heads off to get liquor. The O’Malleys’ car conversation continues until they spot a turkey, which George insists on shooting so they can get out of there already. Ronny is sure he won’t be successful, but he is, and George is thrilled to be leaving. Meredith talks to Holden a little about Coby, saying that he seemed nice. Holden notes that before his coma, his son was a baby and they were about to go visit his mother, who’s now dead. As he undergoes an MRI, Meredith tells Derek that he’s doing as well as can be expected. But not for long - Holden has an epidural hematoma from his fall and needs surgery. As Izzie and Burke continue cooking, she asks him how he learned to cook this well. He reveals that his mother owns a restaurant in Alabama; he adds that Cristina doesn’t know that. Izzie notes that Cristina doesn’t ask a lot of personal questions and is tough to get to know. Burke asks if Izzie is okay with Alex not showing up; she’s not. The two then begin to wonder where Cristina is, since it’s been over an hour since she ducked out. She and Addison are both at the hospital, pretending they’re not actually there.

George quickly packs up the car, urging his brothers and father to hurry up. First they have to “blood” George by smearing turkey blood on his face, telling him that now he’s officially an O’Malley man. Ronny and Jerry start to give him a 21-gun salute, but one of them accidentally shoots Harold in the butt. The family ends up at Seattle Grace and George tends to his father while telling his brothers to behave. The car conversation begins again, which George still refusing to participate. Finally he gets so fed up that he yells at his brothers that the discussion always goes the same way, and he’d like to stop it already. Oh, and his name is George, not Georgie. Meredith and Derek spot Coby visiting Holden, though Coby doesn’t seem to get much out of the experience. After he leaves, Holden tells Meredith that he wants the surgery because his family has moved on and he needs to, too. Izzie and Burke continue getting ready for dinner, and Burke asks why Izzie wanted to cook when she’d never done it before. She says she just likes Thanksgiving - they work a lot and don’t have much time for their families, but on Thanksgiving, they’re normal and don’t hold anyone’s lives in their hands. Bailey and Cristina operate, and Cristina asks Bailey why she’s working on Thanksgiving. Bailey tells her that she’s trying to get in all the practice she can before she has her baby (see “Let it Be”). Her husband doesn’t like it, but he isn’t a surgeon and doesn’t understand. Bailey adds that Burke would have made a good father (see “Make Me Lose Control”).

Derek gets ready for Holden’s surgery, asking Meredith if she’s going to join in, but she has to cover the floor because there aren’t many other interns around. She asks him what he would do if he were in Holden’s situation. Derek thinks that Meredith would choose the surgery; he’s right, because she would either want to be in the future or back asleep. He admits that he’s not sure what he would want, which doesn’t surprise her. As George continues working on Harold, Harold says that he hurt his brothers’ feelings. George replies that they talk down to him, calling him Georgie, and have never treated him like he’s one of them. Harold says that that’s because he’s not one of them - he’s a surgeon while the others are all blue-collar workers. Harold is proud of George’s accomplishments, but he thinks George treats them like they’re dumb, not the other way around. They’re his family, and he’d like George to cut them some slack: “Every once in a while, pick a car.” After a moment, George shares that he saved a man in an elevator (see “Bring the Pain”) all by himself, “just like a real doctor.” Harold is amazed and proud. Meredith is about to join Holden’s surgery, which is already in progress, when she sees from the scrub room that something has gone wrong and he won’t make it. Outside the OR, she and Derek see Coby, who has surprised them by coming back to see his father again. Meredith, Cristina, and George all see each other and realize that Izzie isn’t going to be happy.

Thanksgiving dinner uneaten, Joe tells Izzie that he and Walter have to leave because Joe has to go open the bar. Izzie tells Burke that he can leave, too, but he says he won’t go until the hostess has left the table. George and Cristina arrive, and George tells Izzie that after his horrible day, he should get points for showing up at all. Izzie starts to yell at them, then decides that they should just eat. Outside the hospital, Derek asks Meredith how she was able to pick Cheryl out in the waiting room. Meredith explains that most people waiting are looking for good news, but Cheryl looked like she’d already given up. She asks if Derek loves Addison, but he admits that he doesn’t know. She likes that he’s trying because it means she wasn’t wrong about him. As she heads home, she voices over that maybe people aren’t supposed to be happy, and maybe gratitude has nothing to do with happiness. Meredith and Alex meet up on her porch and she sends him inside ahead of her. Back at the hospital, Bailey tells Webber again to go home, but he notes that Adele is already angry. As he calls her the Nazi, Kent passes by and hears. After dinner, Burke tells Cristina what Izzie said about her being difficult to get to know. He tells her about his mother’s restaurant and she tells him about the surgery she assisted in earlier. Addison meets Derek at the trailer and asks if he’s done hurting her. “No anesthesia in sight,” he replies. As Meredith voices over about celebrating making it through each day, she meets a guy at the ECB.

WELCOME TO SEATTLE GRACE: Harold, Ronny, Jerry, Walter

THE TITLE IS A SONG BY…: Frank Sinatra

MEMORABLE QUOTES: “The stupidity of the human race, Grey. Be thankful for that.” - Bailey

George: “I’m in hell.”
Cristina: “I’m the one in hell. Burke’s going all Iron Chef in your kitchen. Get your a%$ back here and save me.”
George: “I’m in the woods with shotguns and liquor and car talk. It’s like Deliverance out here.”
Cristina: “Well, at least you’ve got liquor. Where does Meredith keep the booze?”
George: “Uh, I don't think she has any.”
Cristina: “How’s that possible? She’s a WASP. Liquor is like oxygen to a WASP.”
George: “Which is why we’re out of liquor.”

Cristina: “Tell me you brought liquor.”
Joe: “I brought pie. Pumpkin.”
Cristina: “You’re a bartender!”
Joe: “Did you bring scalpels?”

“Today I committed bird murder and I was forced to touch my Dad’s a%$. I get extra points for showing up at all.” - George to Izzie

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